Service 2

A memorable experience with volunteering, involved our family couch many years ago.
It happened during my freshman year in high school when I was about fifteen years old.
In a small town, not a lot happens, but there are ‘events’ that everyone looks forward to all year. And one of the highlights for us, was the parade at the beginning of the school year.
My friends and I were talking and laughing during class one day, when an announcement came over the loud speaker.
It was a ‘reminder that ALL clubs were required to have a float in the parade. What a rude interruption that was! To add to it, if there was no float – grades would be cut in half!  No one wanted, or could risk that of course.  The problem was, the parade was that day!
What in the world were we going to do? We only had a few hours to figure out what in the world to do.
We tossed ideas around, till someone suggested we should get a truck and trailer to pull behind the truck.
Now, if someone could get a couch or something to put on the trailer to sit on. Then we could put on some decorations on the trailer too; well, that would solve our problem.
Great idea!  Everyone had a truck and trailer it seemed, but no one had a couch their mother would allow on a float.  After a long, long silence with no one volunteering up their mother’s couch – or anything else to sit on.
I could see that they were in a pinch, and my mom always was a good sport, and taught us to volunteer
So, I naturally offered our couch since they were in a bind and needed one.  Mom would be ok with it I figured, she always taught me to help out anyone in need— right? There was not way to contact my mom. We didn’t have cell phones or anything like that, and I couldn’t call her at work —- but I knew she wouldn’t mind.

We all arranged to meet at my house right after class, to get the couch. That would give a little time to make a float of some sort for the parade….which again, was THAT afternoon.
I hurried home and waited on the steps.
It wasn’t long before the guys came down the street in a truck.
Some were sitting in the back of the open bed, while others were piled in the front cab. And a flatbed trailer kind of bounced behind as it was being pulled by the truck.
We went inside to get the couch and realized immediately there was a problem.
See, an addition to accommodate more storage had been built onto the entrance to make more room. This blocked the original door after all the furniture had already been put into the front room. This made it now impossible for the couch to make the L-turn to go out the door it had once come in through.
The guys were kind of upset and sad. But, I’m usually positive and try to figure out a solution.
Why not take it out the front window?
There was a large big plate glass window that would accommodate the couch.
These were farm boys and knew how to work with their hands and improvise.  So they undid the bolts, gently lifted the large piece of glass off the side of the house and set it aside.
A guys carefully hefted the couch from the living room and fit it through the open space. There were strong guys on the outside, who took the couch and placed it on the open bed of the trailer.
The glass set back in place, making sure all the bolts tightened and everything was as it should be.
Securely strapped down, off drove the truck with my mom’s couch on the trailer.
I hurried to the horse stall in the back of our yard.
A Mother's Shadow, Carrie Groneman
Getting ready for the parade
See, I wanted to ride my horse with the 4-H Club in the parade, much more than ride on a float – with or without – my mom’s couch.
Quickly I groomed and made my horse, Blaze, look handsome. I saddled up and rode off to meet at the beginning of the parade route with my 4-H Club.
Mom and I had prearranged for her to watch me in the parade, because that’s what mom’s do  :-)
The parade began with the usual small town companies advertising their stores and wares. Next, came the high school and junior high bands. Now came the floats. They began their slow procession of trying not to bump into each other, or to allow for much distance between the vehicles.
As mom stood watching the parade. I’m sure you can imagine her surprise as a truck drove by, with a trailer hitched behind it, with a bunch of teenagers hooting and hollering atop of HER couch!  
See, there is no mistaking my mom’s couch because it was specially made by a family friend who owned a furniture business. No doubt, it was her’s.
Immediately mom set out to find me.
As I mentioned I was riding my horse. Horses are always banned to the very end of the parade, so she had a little bit of a walk to find me.
I came to a more crowded part of main street, to find my mom being to job alongside the road as I had my horse in a very slow trot.  We have a conversation of this sort:
Mom – Is that my couch?
Me – Yes!
Mom – Why is my couch on that trailer, or that supposed to be float?
Me – Because they needed it.
Mom – How did you get it out of the house?
Me – We took it out the window.
Mom – WHAT? Is the glass broken?
Me – Nope, the guys were careful mom.
Mom – But you didn’t ask me!
Me – I couldn’t get hold of you and I knew you wouldn’t mind if I was helping someone else.
Aaawww….my poor mom
And I really  don’t remember how we got the couch and the glass back in the house ;-)


Is VOLUNTEERING important?  Is SERVING really that big of a deal?

With our busy life’s and all we have to do

  • WHY should we serve?
  • WHY should we volunteer?
  • HOW does it help us?

Let’s start with stress and how volunteering helps in this area, because, let’s face it; who doesn’t have worry in their life.

I read recently that when we reach out to help others, our bodies release a hormone which buffers stress and helps us maintain social trust and tranquility.  It said that other chemicals our bodies produce when serving like dopamine, which is a natural mood-elevating neurotransmitter; which push aside negative emotions and reduce stress levels.  
  • Is there another benefit?
Less pain is on the on the list.
This is very interesting.  I found a study done by volunteers who reported their pain to drop 2-6 points on a scale of 0-10 when serving regularly The reason stated was that volunteering takes our mind off our pain and also makes us feel more in control of the discomfort and our situation Also, it is proven that those who are volunteering are more physically active and have better health.
  • Volunteering helps us think about others and not focus so much our own troubles 
Reduces Mild Depression and Anxiety
This study was done with Alcoholics Anonymous which found, that those who volunteered regularly were twice as likely to stay clean a year later and their depression rates were correspondingly lower as well.
AND in many cases, mild depression is linked to isolation, so volunteering keeps a person in regular contact with others; as well as develops a social support system.

You realize how amazing DIVINE and Unique YOU are!

Increases Self-Confidence

When you do good in your community by helping individuals, this provides a natural sense of accomplishment for you
It gives a feeling of pride, as well as a positive view of your life and future goals. 
If you’ve lost a spouse, or your kids are older and have moved on with their own lives, or possibly your circumstances have changed? Serving can help take your mind off of your own situation. It can keep your mind mentally stimulated and add a new perspective that you had not before imagined.
Serving breathes new life and possibilities into your soul. It opens new doors, adventures and paths that you had never even considered before. As you lose yourself, by serving others, you fill find yourself.

We can ask this and be honest – we are friends here.

  • Is volunteering ALWAYS beneficial?
  • What if no one says thank you, should I still help?
  • If there is never any recognition for the good you do should you continue?


A resounding YES, YES and YES!!!!  

I’ll give you ten reasons why, but we could go for pages and pages:

  1. It helps us overcome loneliness
  2. We learn new hobbies and skills
  3. Gives us purpose and direction
  4. Increases (or provides) social skills and interactions
  5. It’s just plain fun
  6. It helps you stay physically active because you have to get out of the house, since others are counting on you to help them
  7. Can take away (or alleviate) feelings of anxiety, depression or even anger at circumstances in life
  8. In a poll by the National Volunteering Network, 98% of respondents said volunteering has made them happier people*
  9. Volunteering has proven to lower blood pressure, help a person to eat healthier and exercise regularly**
  10. Even when it isn’t recognized personally, the kindness is ALWAYS appreciated!  If not by the person directly, it is by a family member, the volunteer direction, clergy – and always by God.


I like this quote from Albert Schweitzer:


Albert Schweitzer said: 'The Only Really Happy People Are Those Who Have Learned How To Serve'Click To Tweet

We live in a very tumultuous world right now.  Even our families can be one of chaos and our lives can be filled with sorrow. 

However we can still have PEACE, JOY AND HAPPINESS despite everything that is going on around us.  We can bring blessings on our loved ones and families, when we serve with a sincere heart, and without expectation of reward.



'We can have pure JOY & HAPPINESS even if our life has sorrow, when we serve and help others.' Carrie GronemanClick To Tweet


HOW can we become HAPPY no matter what our circumstance?

Happiness comes by serving with a PURE heart.  So the ultimate benefit of serving is by becoming happy – and that WE CHANGE.
Isn’t that what we are here for?  To change for the better? To LEARN and BECOME what God intends?  And the best way to do that, is to reach outside our self, even when it’s the MOST inconvenient. That’s when we are shaped and molded for the BETTER, when it’s not easy.
HOW much does it take?
What if we can’t travel to another country to build a school? Or contribute a large amount of money? Or retire and give our time to a cause?

Mother Teresa said: “We can do no great things – only small things with great love,”

Mother Teresa said: 'We can do no great things - only small things with great love.'Click To Tweet

Now this is a woman to listen to.  She made a difference in millions of lives, one person at a time.


Think of it this way:

When we serve, even the smallest act of kindness, such as opening a door for someone at the store. If you are doing it with a willing, cheerful heart, it changes us from within.
When we serve with a willing attitude, we are saying – ‘Can I be of service to this person?’
This change, this attitude, begins to wear down the wall of our natural selfishness. It erases our petty vain worries and shallow concerns. .
Our self-centered tendencies that get in the way of assisting others are broken down, bit by bit.
Then over time:

Every one those small acts of service

The little kind acts we perform

WHEN done with a charitable attitude
Transform us to be more Christ like.
To be a more kinder person.  
A more compassionate person.  
A more charitable person.
And better example and righteous disciple of Christ. 
As we continue to serve, it becomes effortless and natural. A genuine happiness takes over our soul. This is how sincere joy floods our soul.

'Selfless service wears down selfishness and vain worries to transform our change, and our becoming what God intends.' Carrie GronemanClick To Tweet


How Do I Start?

Service can be so simple.  I will share one thing my mom, Connie Rasmussen, does to serve.  She purchases umbrellas from the dollar store to keep in her vehicle.  Then when it’s raining or snowing, she looks for opportunities to hand them out.  What a welcome relief for those who have been caught unaware in the storm.
Your Reward?
By serving with PURE love, you will discover unknown talents and abilities.
As we continue to help, and serve without ulterior motives, we BECOME a nobler person. That is how we BECOME a more worthy shadow that our loved ones will trust to follow, and will want to exemplify.
There are countless opportunities to be involved with. I hope you have been volunteering. Or, maybe now you are now motivated to, find a place to help with.
I have a SERVICE OPPORTUNITY page that will give you lots of ideas HERE.
Let us know what you are doing to make a positive difference and how it is changing you for the better!



Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.        

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2017

pictures by Pixabay and Bundesarchiv, Bild 145 Bild-00014770 / CC-BY-SA